Julia Banks has been appointed to the role of Special Advisor in Gender and Politics at Gender Equity Victoria.
The appointment will see Banks support the board and staff at Gender Equity Victoria to develop policies and programs to improve gender equity in local, state and federal politics.
Gender Equity Victoria is Australia’s peak body for gender equity, women’s health and the prevention of violence against women.
Along with many credentials as a business leader, Banks is perhaps most well-known as a former member of federal parliament. In 2016, she won the federal seat of Chisholm and served a term for the Liberal Party until after the ousting of then prime minister Malcolm Turnbull in late 2018.
Unhappy with the culture of the Liberal Party, she then sat on the cross bench as an independent. Her high-profile departure from the Liberal Party sent shockwaves through parliament, after she claimed she would no longer tolerate “bullying and intimidation.”
At the time, she said: “In my political journey a culture of appalling behaviour has been widespread, pervasive and undermining like white ants.”
Banks has since elaborated on her experiences in parliament, saying she witnessed “an entrenched culture of anti-women behaviour” and that it became a “house of horrors” for her.
According to Gender Equity Victoria, Banks’ expertise is in the areas of governance, ethics and trust, reputation, risk, crisis and issues management, leadership development and workplace culture.
Banks has been a vocal supporter of quotas for women in politics and during a speech in parliament, said “the meritocracy argument is completely and utterly flawed.”
“There are an equal number of meritorious Liberal women out there in the real world as there are men. But they won’t come if the barriers to entry and mountains to climb are too high,” she said.
“It seems that quotas are only resisted when they relate to gender. Quotas are not demeaning to women, and nor will women be regarded as the “quota girl”.
“It’s really simple if you only have a man running and you can’t find a woman: find one.”